by Ronnie Tyler
I was tickled pink, when my Great Aunt asked me to be her friend on Facebook. I was like what is my grandmother’s sister doing on Facebook. A few of my cousins and me had a good laugh about it. And she is relatively active too, she has even posted some comments and uploaded pictures. But I am wondering if it is really her or one of my cousins making the updates.
As we shared last week, Lamar and I were attending the first ever RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. RootsTech is the first conference of its kind that’s bringing together leaders in genealogy and in technology in hopes that new ideas, perspectives and solutions will be shared.
We were were extremely honored to be asked to attend the RootsTech conference. While we are not genealogists, we do understand the importance of family and the roll that family history plays in keeping our families connected and strong. Check out some of the posts that Lamar and I wrote about the amazing experience we had while searching for our ancestors.
Being newcomers to genealogy, some of the sessions were a bit out of our league (a nice way of saying we were just not interested) such as Let’s Get Focused: Digitizing Records. Ahhh, no thank-you. But the effort to digitize records is a huge and important one that will make records available on-line and more easily accessible to everyone.
However, we did take a virtual family reunion class that gave us some great tips on how to use web 2.0 technologies to stay connected with our families. Here is what we learned.
Create a Facebook fan page or group for your family:
- A Facebook group is a little more private that a fanpage and you should be able to control who becomes a member more than with the fanpage.
- This page/group can be used to share information with your family, share pictures, and discuss important occasions.
- I have a very large family and I notice that we have certain pockets of relatives that stay connected and spend time together. I am always seeing pictures of their activities on their various walls. With a family page/group, we will be able to share those activities with the rest of the family.
Create a blog when planning family reunions or family gatherings:
- Blogs are really easy and relatively cheap to create, especially using platforms such as WordPress.
- Your blog can be used as a place to provide updates on the planning and itineraries.
- T-shirts can be purchased from your blog and you can even create surveys to vote on things like activities, entertainment, menu, and the next year’s location using FREE sites like SurveyMonkey.
Use online tools to setup a virtual family meeting:
- Some of those tools are free and will allow you to actually have an audio and/or video meeting with your family members.
- Good examples are Skype, Go2meeting.com, and freeconferencecall.com
BMWK – I thought the idea of creating a Facebook Group for my family was great and I plan to start one for the family ASAP. How are you staying connected with your extended family? Has attendance at family reunions dropped? Do you have more tips on how to stay connected with your family?